The Essence of Life

The Essence of Life

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Virtual Hunting

The author and Signor Vito Benevelli
(Photo by Maria José Camargo Meirelles)

Since last Thursday I am touring Torino (Italy) with my wife, just taking it easy, walking a lot, enjoying the sites, meeting some friends and sharing a good time with each other.
This does not mean that hunting is very far away from my mind, as the hunting tradition is deeply rooted in the Piemontese culture.
We visited the Palazzina di caccia Stupinigi that as the hunting lodge for the kings of Savoia. Stupinigi encompasses a luxurious palace that is heavily decorated with hunting art and is crowned by a bronze statue of a royal red stag. Tours are guided only, and at the beginning we are greeted by superb marble statues of Diana, goddess of hunting, and Actaeon, the hunter that Diana turned on a deer after he saw her nude, bathing on a stream, and was then killed by his own friends and hounds.
However, Stupinigi today houses a XVI and XVII century furniture exposition, and the hunting trophies are now at the Museo Regionale da Scienze Naturali at Torino’s quadrilatero (the historic city center). The zoology collection is very nice, displaying animals from all continents. The main room is inspired by Noah’s Arc and just after that there is an impressive display of all species of bears, except pandas.
Currently the museum is featuring an exposition on the history of taxidermy, starting at ancient Egypt with mummification and discussing the evolution of this art. It is impressive to compare XIX century and current animal mounts and understand how much taxidermy has evolved in its ability to portray life-like animals.
The Armeria Realle provides an evolutionary overview of personal weaponry from the Stone Age to the early XX century, including a reasonable amount of hunting firearms.
But the highlight to this virtual hunting tour was the visit to my friend Signor Vito Benevelli in his Ristorante Frandin. As we arrived we were greeted by Vito’s wife, Signora Luciana and soon after we were in the kitchen admiring the beautiful Beccaccia or European woodcock that were aging in cold chamber in the proper way, undisturbed with entrails intact.
Vito selected a nice bottle of Nebbiolo and my wife and I started a marvelous culinary adventure over eighteen different antipasti, among them the terrine di coniglio (rabbit) and paté di selvaggina, a most wonderful dish made of small game and wild truffles. At Frandin main dishes include pheasant, partridge, rabbit, boar, roe deer and other wild game depending on season.
After dinner we talked about hunting, how Vito is coaching his nephew on hunting the Italian alps, the diverse animals that he hunted during this season (roe buck, chamois, pheasant, partridge, capercaillie and of course, woodcock), the need to hunt foxes during January to minimize predation of roe deer fawns next spring, and some aspects of Italian law that only allows hunting four days a week, an individual hunter to be out only in two of those days.
Who thought I couldn’t get my wife hunting?


  1. I felt like "Ratatouille" at Ristorante Fradin tasting different flavors, seasonings and terrific dishes made with game. The most important thing was to witness the pleasures and warmth of friendship and the happiness and excitement about hunting seasons and its stories.
    It is very interesting to know how classy and distinguished hunting is in Europe.

  2. Please visit for a great collection of outdoor supplies.